State Superintendent Issues Reading and Math Challenge

May 21, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As children statewide prepare to put the school year behind them, state Superintendent Jim Phares is challenging them to keep learning this summer by reading and doing math.

Phares issued the West Virginia Department of Education's Summer Reading and Math Challenge on Tuesday in an effort to help children improve their reading abilities, practice their math skills and keep their academic skills sharp during the summer break.

"Reading well and being able to do basic math are two of the most important skills a child needs to learn," Phares said. "Yet research tells us that when children don't continue to read and do math over the summer, they are likely to lose crucial ground. One summer off can sometimes mean a whole school year of struggling academic performance. We cannot allow that to happen."

One way teachers and parents can help students continue to read and sharpen their math skills over the summer is to help them find books and math problems tailored to their own interests. The West Virginia Department of Education has created a webpage at The webpage includes free math and reading resources, including a free online search tool, dubbed Find a Book, West Virginia, Teachers, parents and older students can use this tool to build custom reading lists based on each individual's interests.

The database also allows students to locate books that best complement each student's reading ability based on Lexile measures. A Lexile measure represents both a child's reading ability and the difficulty of a text, like a book or magazine article.

In addition, the WVDE Learn21 website,, hosts a collection of engaging resources, including reading and math materials, for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The learning tools can be used to aid learning anytime and anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Other summer programs also are available that allow children to earn free books or other prizes when they log their reading. Check out these sites:

Math resources include:

Keeping children reading this summer is part of the West Virginia Department of Education's ongoing efforts to improve student achievement and encourage regular reading in West Virginia schools and homes through Read WV. The campaign is designed to encourage children and the adults in their lives to make reading a priority early in life and to ensure that children read every day.

Phares encourages parents, teachers and students to share their photos and tweets at #ReadWV and at

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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